Changes in ocean angular momentum about the polar axis (M) are related to fluctuations in zonal currents (relative component M(sub r)) and latitudinal shifts in mass (planetary component M(sub Omega)). Output from a 1 deg ocean model is used to calculate global M(sub r), M(sub Omega), and M time series at 5-day intervals for the period January 1985-April 1996. The annual cycle in M(sub r), M(sub Omega), and M is larger than the semiannual cycle, and M(sub Omega) amplitudes are nearly twice those of M(sub r). Year-to-year modulation of the seasonal cycle is present, but interannual variability is weak. The spectrum of M is red (background slope between omega(sup (-1) and omega(sup -2)) at subseasonal periods, implying a white or blue spectrum for the external torque on the ocean. Comparisons with previous studies indicate the importance of direct atmospheric forcing in inducing subseasonal M signals, relative to instabilities and other internal sources of rapid oceanic signals. Regional angular momentum estimates show that seasonal variability tends to be larger at low latitudes but there are many local maxima due to the spatial structure of zonal current and mass variability. At seasonal timescales, latitudes approximately 20 S - 10 N contribute substantial variability to M(sub Omega), while signals in M(sub r) can be traced to Antarctic Circumpolar Current transports and associated circulation. Variability in M is found to be small when compared with similar time series for the atmosphere and the solid Earth, but ocean signals are significantly coherent with atmosphere-solid Earth residuals, implying a measurable oceanic impact on length-of-day variations.